THIS YEAR APAAC HAS SOUGHT LEGISLATION ON TWO MATTERS OF IMPORTANCE TO PROSECUTORS STATEWIDE:
First, HB2382: Conspiracy; Homicide; Statute of Limitations: This bill is very straightforward in that it simply seeks to add conspiracy to commit homicide to the statute that would remove any time limitation on such a charge, consistent with the charge of homicide itself. This measure was brought to us by our affiliate office, Pima County Attorneys’ Office. It would be most helpful in cold cases as one could easily imagine a situation where, after the passage of some time and the erosion of evidence, that the elements of conspiracy may be provable at trial where the act itself may not. This bill was brought to us by our affiliate Pima County Attorney, Barbara LaWall.
HB2382 is on its way to the Senate.
Second, SB 1249: Dangerous And Incompetent Defendants; Commitment: also brought to APAAC by Ms. LaWall, reflects several years of work by Kathleen Mayer, who, together with the bench and others, has made this proposal in order to better serve public safety by establishing a mechanism for managing the commitment of those person who are deemed incompetent to stand trial but have committed dangerous criminal offenses. This bill would systematize the administration of those cases through regular monitoring by the court with regard to the ongoing treatment of such defendants, in order to ensure that they are not simply released back into the community without proper attention.
Work continues on this measure, as there are questions as to funding.
Third, SB1389/HB2333: Medical Marijuana Fund; Education Programs, APAAC supports language to use the medical marijuana fund established by dispensary and cardholder fees for public education about the potential harm of marijuana abuse and substance abuse prevention.
Both bills have passed committee, and awaits a hearing in rules committee before continuing on to the opposite house. (2/25/14)
APAAC ALSO SUPPORTS THE FOLLOWING THREE PIMA COUNTY BILLS THAT ARE SEEING THEIR SECOND YEAR OF ACTION:
HB2312 Tampering With A Witness: The definition of tampering with a witness, a class 6 (lowest) felony, is expanded to include inducing a witness to evade a summons or subpoena, and to include attempting to induce a witness to take any of the specified actions. Transmitted to the Senate 2/18
HB2314 Prosecutor Presence; Interview of Minor: The defendant, defendant's attorney or an agent of the defendant is prohibited from interviewing a minor child who is a victim and who has agreed to an interview unless the prosecutor is present, even if the minor child's parent initiates contact with the defendant, defendant's attorney or agent of the defendant. Transmitted to the Senate 2/24
HB2322 National Instant Criminal Background Checks: The clerk of court is required to transmit the case information of every case involving a "covered offense" (defined as an indictment or information for an offense if the judicial officer imposes as a condition of release that the person not possess a firearm or a "serious offense" as defined in the Criminal Code) to the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court is required to transmit it to the Department of Public Safety. The Dept. is required to transmit the case information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. The definition of "prohibited possessor" of a deadly weapon is expanded to include any person who has been found incompetent according to the Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure and any person who is charged with a covered offense. Effective January 1, 2015.
This bill is currently undergoing revision as the resulting stakeholders input. (2/25/14)
APAAC reviews all the bills submitted that impact criminal justice. This is just a sampling of the bills brought by our members and others regarding public safety.
We will occasionally feature bills of note as they make their way through the process.
THE APAAC COUNCIL MET ON FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2014 TO CONSIDER ITS POSITION ON ALL BILLS CURRENTLY BEING ADDRESSED.
APAAC’S Postion on bills can found in this web report: http://www.azcapitolreports.com/webreport